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Insecurity continues to impact household-level food security

  • Food Security Outlook Update
  • South Sudan
  • February 2013
Insecurity continues to impact household-level food security

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  • Key Messages
  • Current Situation
  • Updated Assumptions
  • Projected Outlook through June 2013
  • Key Messages
    • Stressed and Crisis acute food insecurity (IPC Phases 2 and 3) will extend further into Jonglei, Unity, Warrap, Northern Bahr el Ghazal, and Lakes states during the Outlook period due to displacement, reduced food supplies, and high prices. The situation is expected to worsen in border areas. In Jonglei state, insecurity and livestock disease will aggravate the impact of prior flooding and displacements. 

    • Mixed trends in food prices, particularly for sorghum, were observed in January. Although some prices are stable, they remain significantly above average and are expected to increase in line with seasonal trends beginning in March. High prices coupled with limited income opportunities will reduce poor households’ access to food particularly during April to June.

    • Border tensions and inter-ethnic fighting will continue to restrict livelihood activities such as sales of firewood, charcoal, and wild foods. Displacement due to insecurity will also hinder fishing, an important seasonal income-generating activity, as well as land preparation for the forthcoming agricultural season. 

    Current Situation
    • Staple food prices: Mixed prices of staple foods have been observed in January 2013. While the price of sorghum in most markets either remained stable or declined, sorghum prices increased in markets in Bor (44 percent) and in Kapoeta (25 percent) compared to December 2012. Yet, a 20 percent reduction in sorghum prices was observed in both Wau and Malakal markets. Sorghum prices remained stable in Aweil and Bentiu in January. In Aweil town, the price of maize increased by 30 percent compared to December 2012. In Abyei town, the market is functional, but staple foods are scarce. For example, a malwa (3.5 kg) of sorghum increased from SSP 5 to SSP 9 after people were displaced.
    • Security: Increased violence due to cattle rustling and inter-communal reprisal attacks continue to threaten the food security of conflict-affected populations. On February 8, a cattle raid in Akobo County in Jonglei state caused more than 100 deaths and displaced an unknown number of people, according to UN OCHA. Another attack also took place in Tonj (Warrap) on February 2, displacing an estimated 1,000 people. The Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) also carried out an aerial attack on Jau town in Pariang County in Unity state earlier in February. Tensions are mounting as troops are being built up along the un-demarcated border between the two countries. Since the beginning of 2013, an estimated 8,500 people have been displaced from their homes, causing loss of assets and livelihoods.
    • Livestock conditions: The Ministry of Livestock in Jonglei state reported more than 2,500 livestock deaths from a Hemorrhagic Septicemia outbreak in Twic East and Duk counties. Efforts are underway to contain the disease. Overall, water and pastures have started to dwindle as migration is currently underway.

    Updated Assumptions

    Below are adjustments to assumptions outlined in the January Outlook report through June 2013. If not noted otherwise, the assumptions noted in the January Outlook remain valid. 

    • Food prices: Food prices are expected to increase significantly, between April and June coinciding with the lean season, particularly in the states bordering Sudan. Border areas have experienced increasing levels of insecurity in recent weeks. As mentioned in the Sudan February Outlook Update report, 70 trucks loaded with food and fuel destined for South Sudan were seized, thereby significantly reducing the informal trade with South Sudan that has been ongoing since Sudan’s imposition of trade restrictions in 2011. Given the current conditions, this reduction in food supply to states bordering Sudan is likely to increase prices to excessively high levels, particularly towards the end of the Outlook period.
    • Internal conflicts and displacement: Cattle rustling normally increases during the dry season when livestock aggregate near water points and pastures. However in January, raids began early, even before migration, which started in late January and early February. As the dry season progresses, conflicts from cattle rustling and inter-communal reprisal attacks are likely to increase. This will be particularly severe from April to June, coinciding with the lean season, and will in turn further strain livelihoods. Livestock migration triggered one of the worst attacks in Jonglei state in recent months. A separate attack took place in Tonj South of Warrap state. The displacement that resulted in loss of assets and disruption of livelihood poses a threat to the future resilience of the affected households. 

    Projected Outlook through June 2013
    • Expected high food prices will limit poor households’ access to food and will be compounded an earlier than normal start to the lean season. As well, restricted livelihood activities due to persistent insecurity will increase the likelihood that these households will face significant food consumption gaps from April to June. In response, poor households will increase their collection of wild foods and sales of firewood and charcoal to offset this food shortage. As projected in the Food Security Outlook report in January, poor households will face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) acute food insecurity during most of the remaining scenario period.
    • The early start of cattle raiding and inter-communal reprisal attacks, as well as the increasing border tensions, will exacerbate the current food security conditions among poor households in Jonglei, Northern Bahr el Ghazal, Warrap, Unity, Upper Nile and Lakes states. Poor households particularly in Pibor, Uror, Ayod, Nyirol and Akobo counties of Jonglei state will face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) acute food insecurity during most parts of the Outlook period. In Abyei, where Crisis levels of acute food insecurity persist, an influx of returnees is expected to exert pressure on current resources. However, ongoing humanitarian assistance is likely to mitigate further deterioration.
    Figures Seasonal Calendar for a Typical Year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal Calendar for a Typical Year

    Source: FEWS NET

    This Food Security Outlook Update provides an analysis of current acute food insecurity conditions and any changes to FEWS NET's latest projection of acute food insecurity outcomes in the specified geography over the next six months. Learn more here.

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